Rotorua welcomes new Kiwis (+video)

By Shauni James

1 comment
KIA ORA: Michael Rayner (centre) with wife Abi Banforth (left) and their children Tobias Rayner, 1, and Arieana Rayner, 4, with Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
KIA ORA: Michael Rayner (centre) with wife Abi Banforth (left) and their children Tobias Rayner, 1, and Arieana Rayner, 4, with Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

An extra citizenship ceremony will be held in Rotorua this year due to a growing list of people wanting to become Kiwis.

People from 14 countries officially became New Zealand citizens at a ceremony at the Rotorua Lakes Council today.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said there was already a waiting list for the next ceremony.

"It's a wonderful sign of a welcoming community and one that is culturally diverse," she said.

Video

Michael Rayner said he was on the last immigrant ship to New Zealand from Britain and arrived in December 1975 when he was 2 years old.

Mr Rayner said when he was about 25 he went travelling for 11 years before returning to New Zealand. He visited more than 150 countries and lived in about 10.

He now teaches at John Paul College.

"New Zealand is home and for me, coming back, it's the only place I would really want to raise a family."

He was supported at the ceremony by his wife Abi Banford and their two children.

The ceremony also included kapa haka items from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata School. Each new Kiwi family or citizen received a book and a seedling.

Mrs Chadwick said the New Zealand native plant symbolised putting down roots in New Zealand. The women also received a corsage.

Those who became citizens included two Fijians, seven Filipinos, two Koreans, one Cambodian, one Czech, nine British, one British/Irish, three Indians, one South African, two Finnish, one American, two Sri Lankans, one Chinese, one Irish and one Thai.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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